A weekend out of the lake comes with certain risks. In the event of any type of accident, keeping a cool head and thinking logically is important to prevent further injury or damage. But these tips in particular can help negate further catastrophe in a boating accident:
What to Do Immediately Following a Boating Accident
If your boat or vessel has broken apart or is sinking, then moving to reliable debris or a flotation device and signaling for help is advised.
Keeping a life jacket on at all times is the best way to protect yourself from drowning. The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that 70 percent of boating accident fatalities occur as a result of drowning.
Once everyone is accounted for and receiving proper medical attention, make sure they’re out of the way of incoming boat traffic and other floating debris. You should contact the Coast Guard to report the accident, describing the location of the accident and what medical assistance is needed. The United States Coast Guard emergency frequency for District 13 (serving the Pacific Northwest) is VHF-FM Channel 16 (156.8 MHz) or you can dial 911.
Once the Dust Settles
Get information about the accident, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the boat operators involved, passengers aboard, and witnesses who may have seen what happened. You should also get the registration or identification information about the vessels involved in the accident and insurance company names and policy numbers from people involved.
Taking photos of the accident scene and damage to the vessel(s) is a good idea. Getting this evidence from the scene can help determine fault.
Don’t admit fault or take responsibility for the accident. Don’t speak to any adjusters or attorneys or sign any documents without consulting your own attorney. Making statements may jeopardize any subsequent investigation or a potential boating injury claim.
Make Insurance Claims
After a boating accident, it’s important to report the claim to your boat insurance carrier if you owned or operated one of the vessels involved. Notify your insurer no matter who is at fault, as you may need to get help from your insurer in order to make a claim.
If another boater is deemed negligent, careless, or otherwise violated a law that caused the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and emotional distress.
To contact Seattle, Washington personal injury lawyer David S. Roth for a free consultation or to discuss your potential boating accident claim, click here or call (206) 447-8665.